6 Apr. Numbers 14:41-45

6 Apr. The Israelites’ first attempt to enter Canaan fails

“When Moses told all these things to the Israelites, they were very sad. Early the next morning they started to go towards the top of the mountains, saying, ‘We have sinned. We will go where the LORD told us.’”

“But Moses said, ‘Why are you disobeying the LORD’s command? You will not win! Don’t go, because the LORD is not with you and you will be beaten by your enemies. You will run into the Amalekites and Canaanites, who will kill you with swords. You have turned away from the LORD, so the LORD will not be with you.’”

“But they were proud. They went towards the top of the mountains, but Moses and the Ark of the [Covenant] Agreement with the LORD did not leave the camp.”

“The Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in those mountains came down and attacked the Israelites and beat them back all the way to Hormah.”

          (Numbers 14:41-45)



It’s not widely known that the Bible tells us that the people of Israel were unsuccessful in their first attempt to enter the ‘promised land’ of Canaan. Indeed, it was only on their third attempt that the Israelites gradually conquered the whole of southern and northern Canaan.

After the Israelites realised that their reluctance to follow Caleb’s advice to attack the Canaanites immediately had not only cost them a victorious entry into Canaan, but had condemned them to 40 years in the desert, they changed their minds and decided to attack the Canaanites after all.

Moses attempted to dissuade the people from attacking as God had forbidden them to do so. But the people were stubborn and decided to go ahead with an attack on the Canaanites in the area of Beersheba and Hebron in the hill country of southern Canaan (see 6 on the map on 2 April).

So the first attempt to invade the fertile ‘promised land’ failed because the people attacked against God’s wishes. Moses forbade the Ark of the Covenant from leaving the Israelite’s camp, symbolically showing that the LORD was not with those men who decided to go ahead and attack.

Consequently, the Amalekites and Canaanites swooped down from the hills and launched a surprise attack on the Israelites, killing many of them, and forcing the remnant back as far as Hormah (see the map).

The Israelites would have to wait another 40 years before their attacks on the inhabitants of the ‘promised land’ were successful.

The photo shows a date palm in the fertile land of Canaan (now southern Israel).

You can read more about the Israelite’s first attempt to enter Canaan @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/26-the-journey-continues-from-sinai-to-moab/korah-leads-a-rebellion-against-moses/

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